Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Housewife Assassin's Handbook (humorous romantic mystery) (Book #1 - The Housewife Assassin Series)
The Housewife Assassin's Handbook (humorous romantic mystery) (Book #1 - The Housewife Assassin Series)
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistencies AboundSeptember 29, 2012

The Housewife Assassin's Handbook

This was an interesting plot device - take one widowed woman with children whose husband was killed while working at something she knew nothing about-have the widow want to get revenge for her husbands' death - have her take over his job- and then throw a sexy man into the mix who is supposed to be her late husband. ( because nobody buy the heroine knows her husband is dead, not even her kids!)

I loved this book: the feistiness of Donna, the story, the pacing, I loved the mystery ---I HATED the inconsistencies. They were bad enough and often enough to pull me out of the story, and with no apology from the author, nor an updated book.

I had a little problem with Donna sleeping with both men near the end of the book, and I REALLY had difficulty with the idea that Donna kept her husbands death from her kids, family and neighbors but I can sort of understand that she "had" too because of the mission.

This could have been a great book but for some minor things; with judicious editing and beta reading I think this author will go far in the `silly heroine/slapstick' genre.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Product Details

Forever Werewolf: Forever Werewolf\Moon Kissed (Harlequin Nocturne) by Michele Hauf (Kindle Edition - Oct 1, 2012) - Kindle eBook


Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on October 1, 2012.

Rated One Star

 I’m sorry to say that both of these books didn’t hit the right buttons for me.  Especially the first book “Forever Werewolf”.  This book seemed especially childish and that includes both the language and the characters themselves.  The main characters gave the impression that they were in high school, the plot /mystery evil kingpin was easy to figure out and it was even easier to see where this story was going.

As far as “Moon Kissed went, I couldn’t even finish it.  The plot of what I was able to read was silly and  the language was almost as childish as with the first book. The characters are cartoonish and over-blown.  The book even started on a silly note that had me wanting to smack the “heroine” upside the head.   In the beginning of the novel, the “hero” makes a lackluster attempt at trying to scare the heroine with his wickedness.   

All in all I couldn’t handle the  cartoonish characters and the silly plots.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Accidental Bride (Hqn) by Christina Skye (Sep 18, 2012)

This was such a romantic book, not filled with the usual sexual tension we have come to expect from this genre.  This book is simply a wonderful story told well.  If you are looking for a story filled with hot sex and passion, then this most likely will not be the book for you.  Not to say that there is no passion in this book, it is just that the fans of passion are not really flamed until after the wedding!

Jilly is a young orphaned woman just finally making a go at her career.  She won her own restaurant and even has a line of salsas and chipotle sauces that are gaining in popularity.  Until one day while in the middle of cooking for her restaurant she experiences chest pain, nausea and blacks out. Now she must make some changes in her life and to help her think and to put things into perspective her two best friends send her off  on a vacation in Wyoming.

Walker is a near recluse in  this Wyoming town, that is until he meets with Jilly as she is getting off her plane in Wyoming.  They interact as she drops her suitcase that has an abundance of snack cakes and chocolate and some sparks fly.As Walker finally starts coming more and more out of his shell they realize that things might progress.  And things seem to be going well until under special circumstances they agree to a ‘staged’ yet perfectly legal wedding.

This book was realistic and the characters are so well drawn and fleshed out that it was almost like reading about some of my own friends.  I rooted for Jilly, Walker, and his dog Winslow! If there is one complaint I had with this book it would be that it ended too soon and the epilogue didn’t give me the follow-up information on their lives that I really wanted.

So as I said, if you are looking for a sweet non sex packed romantic novel with a truly good story, this may be something well worth your reading time.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Product Details

Earth to Hell: Journey to Wudang: Book One by Kylie Chan (Sep 25, 2012)

If you liked the first trilogy, this one is in much the same vein. If you're an urban fantasy fan but haven't read the first trilogy I recommend you go back and do that before reading this one. 
I really must tell you that it is going to bed impossible to read this book if you have not read the first three books.  In fact, I would strongly suggest a re-read to brush up on stuff. I haven’t read the series in about a year and even I was at sea for much of the book.

We rejoin the series after 8 years have passed, Emma is nearly 40 and still pretty much as useless in a fight as she was at first unless she is bringing out her Snake side. You see, she needs to meet challenges for Simone’s hand and she isn’t doing a very good job of it.  John is still gone, although there are times when he will come back briefly – either in dreams, or a sort of mirage – and help Emma try to get the Demon out of her so she won’t become a Snake Mother.   Leo is still in Hell after all these years, but there is something eveil going on and there are duplicate Leo’s all around.

There are huge nests of Snake Mothers and Demons and hatchlings to be found and Emma needs help.  A lot of it.  So whom does she go to for help? The Demon King.  Oh yes!

Again there is action but not enough  to over 500 pages.  There is so much redundancy that I’m surprised that the authors editor would have allowed this book to pass. Simone has become a typical teenager and can be whiny and very annoying.  Sometimes you just want to see Emma step up to the plate and do something about Simone’s attitude but she doesn’t.  The rich and detailed Chinese mythology, history  and details makes for a fascinating read on its own.

The books do hold my interest in at least finding out what will happen when John gets back so that I keep reading and some of the action is worth the time it takes to read these.  The next in the series is "Hell to Heaven: Journey to Wudang Book 2" and will ber released on October 30th.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

One Wrong Move (McClouds & Friends)

One Wrong Move (McClouds & Friends) [Kindle Edition]

Shannon McKenna 

One Wrong Move – Shannon McKenna

I have not read this author in quite some time and was quite surprised at this book.  I understand that this book is from a series, but I had no trouble reading this as a standalone book. The story itself is a fast-paced one that is just a tad over the top as far as plots go.

Nina our heroine has been injected with something by her aunt who at the time of injecting is speaking to Nina vehemently and at length in Ukrainian. Nina has always seemed to have an ability for ‘disappearing’ into the back-ground, being unnoticed and almost invisible…but now it seems after she awakes after the injection, that she can read minds.  Now Nina needs and interpreter so she can find out just what Helga was talking about and the only one available at this time is Alex.

Now the hero of our story just happens to be running from the Ukrainian mob and his family, and now he is on his way to see his dying Aunt Tonya. When he is asked to help Nina, he refuses. However, eventually he decides to help Nina and of course sparks start flying between them.

Now this is where things really get crazy and very nearly unbelievable but, somehow Ms McKenna makes you believe all that is going on – from people with natural psi powers to drugs that give you the power if you didn’t have it.   

Now with Nina being drugged and only given days to live unless she can find the next injection that she needs; everything gets more complicated by the attraction she and Alex are sort of fighting. Now Alex is not your typical hero…oh no, he is very much a jerk, a butt-hole and someone that you just want to beat the stuffing out of.  Nevertheless, Nina being Nina and the sweet girl that she is sees the good in him. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he gives her the best sex she has ever had.

I have never read such crude language in a romantic suspense novel, but it does seem to work in this one.  The sexual scenes leave something to be desired however, which was disappointing since the sexy dialogue held so much promise.  Actually, some of the sex was a bit crude for this genre also.  At least I don’t think that this is supposed to be erotica, but I may be wrong about that.

This is a fine novel if you can really suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow.

Product Details

666 Park Avenue: A Novel by Gabriella Pierce (Kindle Edition - Feb 1, 2011) - Kindle eBook


I have heard this book called a lot of complimentary things and people really seem to like it; but if you are a serious fan of any of the genres that this book is dealing with you may have problems with it like I did.

This book is trying to be too many things all at one time.  It is trying to be a romance, a speculative fiction book and a chick lit all rolled into one, and it does not work.  There is too little of each to make up a satisfying whole.

The so-called heroine is whiny, a tad to trusting with near strangers, silly almost to the point of being stupid.  Her character was in this day and age, nearly unbelievable.  
 I had to force myself to finish the book just to find out that the sexual bliss she and Malcolm shared was not natural…or was it?

The plot was thin nearly to the point of invisibility. There was little to no suspense since the reader could always quite clearly see what was up the road – there was never anything to look forward to.

Perhaps this will make a better TV show than a book; maybe the TV writers can take this and fill it out, and make it plausible.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Catch Me (1 Night Stand Series)
Catch Me (1 Night Stand Series)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 -Hot, Hot, HotSeptember 20, 2012

I really enjoyed this very short, very, very sexy novella!

We have a very cautious and damaged Tara who is trying to jump start her sexual life by signing up to have a one night stand with a stranger.

We have Rick who hasn't been with a woman for ten months and is simply doing a favor for his boss by allowing himself to be the one-night stand. Unbeknownst to Rick he is being set up for a little bit more.

Even though this could just had been a simple sex story Ms Probst manages, in her wonderful way, to bring some depth and emotion to a short erotic novella. What is even better is that she allows her heroine to gain not only her sexual gratification, but her more important self-respect which lead to a wonderful HEA!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Boyfriend from Hell (Saturn's Daughters) by Jamie Quaid (Sep 25, 2012)

Boyfriend from Hell (Saturn's Daughters)

Boyfriend from Hell by Jamie Quaid
Do you think you would like to live your life knowing that, if you wished someone to go to Hell hard enough, they would really go?  Maybe you would like to dispense justice in its more violent form.  Well maybe if you lived some of your life in the section of radioactive Baltimore known as the Zone, you might be able to.  But really… how would you feel if you saw your no-good boyfriend sitting behind the wheel of your car burning to death because you wished him to Hell?
This is just one of the things that Justine (Tina) Clancy has to worry about these days. Well that and her ability to kill at the mere thought.  She also has to worry about a kitten that turns into huge wildcat, statues that move, women that turn into chimpanzee and the fact that she just found out her boyfriend wasn’t such a jerk in the first place!   She also has to worry about the fact that she may be one of Saturn’s daughter and what that will mean in the next couple of years. Oh and she has to worry about her very sexy boss too.

One last thing – along with your ability to dispense Justice, every time you sent a person who really needed it to Hell something good happened for you. Like sentence a murderer, get big boobs.  Would you be able to ‘do the right thing’ knowing this?

This was a fantastic, fast; thought provoking read that I almost didn’t go for.  I felt that the story line sounded a little too out there, the characters sounded like they would be too young for me, and that perhaps it was a book for young adults.  Nevertheless, this was one of the best choices of speculative fiction I have made in the last couple of months!  It is new, fresh, quirky, has a really good mystery and so far even though interesting things are physically happening to Tina she hasn’t become a ‘Mary-Sue’ and I really hope the author doesn’t end up eventually writing her that way.

It’s not to say that this book didn’t have its flaws –sometimes you just wanted to smack the heck out of Tina and her whininess, sarcastic mouth and her attitude that I can do it all by myself – and then other times you just wanted to wrap her up and hug her to death. Also at 400 pages this book may have been a tad long, but since this is a book setting up  a new series and had tons of world building to do,  I can see why Ms. Quaid opted for the length of it.  It is clever to have this as a first person point of view   book so we never get confused with the thoughts and emotions of the other main and secondary characters. However, you can still clearly ‘feel’ what is going on in the other characters heads simply by Ms Quaid’s clever writing.  Even for a world like this everything is totally believable-the dialogue, the world, the mystery…none of it feels contrived and you can really feel the anguish and angst that Tina is going through. Yet even with the angst Tina still goes along with her old routines and still is doing her very best to pass her Law exams!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Product Details

Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb (Sep 11, 2012)

 I think after 45 books, novellas and short stories it may be time to start another series, since this one seems to be bogged down and a caricature of what the series used to be. This book is written with the patented JD Robb formula and you cannot get away from it.
The book opens on a horrific scene of people murdering each other during a casual after work drink in a neighborhood bar—over 80 people are dead.  Enter Eve and team---pan to Eve horrified demeanor and the sensibilities of Peabody being shaken to the core. Bring in the full team-enter Roarke, who is starting to really get on my nerves.  Of course, Roarke owns the bar so should and will be sticking his rich nose into everything. The wrong people are accused, footwork is done, and Dr. Mira is consulted - all as per nom.

On one hand, we have an incident straight out of the Urban Wars.  WE have a drug let loose in several places inciting innocent [people to horribly vivid blood lust and berserker behavior.  This unnatural behavior lasts a mere minutes but the havoc it creates leaves an incredible toll. Moreover, this alone should have  been a fascinating story; to see Eve and team search for the master mind.  Yet nobody takes responsibility for this crime, so there is nobody for Eve to really focus on. Yet even with no concrete ‘clues’ Eve will solve the crime mainly by pretty much lying to the accused.
On the other hand (as I have mentioned) you would think that to find the culprit that there would be dangerous and fancy footwork.  You would think! At 64% into the book what we have is yet another deep recap of Eve’s admittedly horrific childhood, some interviews at the cop shop a couple of rote sex scenes and miracle of miracles, Summerset and Eve work together, are polite to each other-dare I say- even nice to each other!

There really is not very much action in this story.  What there is is a lot of blood and guts though.  There is not a lot of Eve’s lighter side showing, some but not a lot.

I realize that in Eve’s world only about 2 years have passed, so technically she could be working on her issues for a long, long time. However, for the reader 17 real years have passed and with this many published works that many of us have read, the angst is  getting a little redundant (at least for me). I for one would appreciate at least every other book to be without Eve’s and Roarke’s angst.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Product Details

How to Drive a Dragon Crazy (Dragon Kin) by G. A. Aiken (Sep 4, 2012)

  So many authors have gone this same route that G. A. Aiken (aka- Shelly Laurenston) has gone with this novel. For example Laurell K. Hamilton and J.R. Ward to name two popular authors. They take what starts out as a perfectly good series that mainly concentrates on one couple, if it's a romance, or one mystery to solve, and then down the road they feel that it somehow serves a better purpose to start making their books into what amounts to a series of short stories that vaguely interconnect. If it's the romance you are reading, like this series is supposed to be, you expect a lot of the story will belong to the main characters.

  Unfortunately that isn't what you are going to get with this book which is supposed to be about Éibhear the Blue and Izzy, a tale that was started about 10 years ago and ended quite badly. With this book things should have picked up, but it took reading nearly halfway through before they even had relations. I grasp that things are not going to work out right from the very start of the book. But this is taking a ridiculous amount of time.
I am reading more about things going on with Annwyl's twins, Rhi, Izzy's sister and then Gaius and Agrippina, among other 'stories'.

  The points of view change at a dizzying rate, although the narrative and descriptions remain steadfastly vivid. Peoples (dragons) opinions about things change at lightning speed. It is an amusing novel although not as good ad the very first three or so in the series. My head spun as I tried to keep up with just who the story was supposed to be about at any given moment.

  A book should not take this much work to be enjoyed.

  I have given up on JR Ward for doing this and now I think I must do the same with this romantic speculative fiction series.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow

Things in the Park are changing, and not always necessarily for the better.  Gold in huge quantities has been found as we know from the book,”Whisper to the Blood”    I just don’t think anyone knew or ever will know exactly how huge a discovery this is. However, for now it’s enough.

Now people are missing, disappearing but that’s not to say that people don’t go missing from Alaska every day.  We know from our reading that this happens more than some Alaskans would like to admit, it’s just that this time it is a little different.

One day Mr. Smith is walking back to his homestead,…he finds a truck with a note taped to the steering wheel.  Someone is going to walk into the woods and let Alaska take them ‘home’.  The only thing wrong with this is that once Kate gets there she finds a little more than she bargained for.  Old
Sam is using human remains (what there is left of them) to bait a bear and to make a long story short we need to find out if these remains are of the person we think they belong to.  On the other hand, is something else going on?

Knowing how Ms Stabenow writes I shouldn’t have been so surprised as to how convoluted this particular mystery worked out to be.  While I could figure out somewhat of who killed whom for one of the murders, I would never have in a million year have guessed as to who from the NNA was supplying info to the ‘enemy’.

We do, unfortunately lose a beloved character at the end of this novel, but it was a good passing one that didn’t leave me weepy like Jack’s death did.

Kate and crew are at their best in this novel and I was floored that this is the first book I can remember that Kate didn’t end up getting knocked out.  I for one am glad since she was almost becoming a caricature/joke instead of a strong kick-butt heroine. Kate sure does manage to kick-butt during on of NNA meetings—watch for it, it’s a great scene. I was a little disappointed at seeing the Aunties act the way they did considering just how important tribe and custom is to them.

All in all this was a good read, but a huge divergence from what we are accustomed to in Kate’s life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Grave Denied by Dana Stabenow

In this 13th Kate Shugak novel, we finally see Kate coming all the way out of her lethargy that she suffered when she lost her long time lover Jack, to the murderers in “Hunter’s Moon”.  She is taking more of an interest in things and the people around her and she is finally coming to terms that her and Jim may just have something worth exploring.

We open the novel with Johnny, Jacks son is on a field trip with his school and he and his friend Vanessa come across a corpse.  A dead body that is sitting right In front of a glacier.

 This is certainly nota book that uses the deus ex machine that some have mentioned since it was fairly simple to figure out who- dun- it right from the start.  Ms Stabenow certainly writes ever book wit a bit of surprise but I can’t for the life of me feel that this was contrived and the murder only thrown in in this manner because the author couldn’t figure out any other way to end it.

I love how Kate is changing, sometimes not for the better, but she is always evolving, learning to face the changes around her and finally accept help when she needs it. I see that Kate is changing with the times, learning different speech patterns and becoming a little more tech savvy.  She really is rolling with the punches. 

As it is stated in the synopsis – these novels “turns out to be as much about living as it is about dying” and I must agree with this statement.

*MILD SPOILER AHEAD*------------------------------à

 Go Kate --- Bravo for finally facing Jane and figuratively kicking her ass!

 Rarely do I cry when reading mysteries.  You don’t really expect that kind of reaction, especially during mysteries. But I dare any one not to cry during” Hunter’s Moon” or in this book during the reconstruction scene when the town pitches in.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Kate Shugak Novels, Vol. 2

Book 4 -"A Cold Blooded Business"
Book 5 -"Play With Fire"
Book 6 - "Blood Will Tell"

In book 4 -"A Cold Blooded Business" we find Kate going to do a job again for Jack only this time she will have to go against what she feels about oil drilling in the tundra. She will find herself working for RPetCo to find out just how and why drugs are getting into the hands of the workers: with at least once resultant death. While investigating this she will also come to find Native American artifacts are being smuggled out and sold.

What makes these books such a pleasure to read is that you can plainly see that Ms Stabenow puts a lot of research into her work and you can tell that she loves what she does. One thing I will caution-the continuity isn't always the greatest and you will find some mistakes in the Kindle edition that may or may not be in the paper editions.

In book 5 - "Play With Fire" Ms Stabenow will delve into murder and religion. Kate stumbles across a corpse while out mushroom picking with a new character Dinah, who will become a beloved and very long lasting secondary character. There is a lot of controversial religious discussion in this novel and some may find it offensive.

In book 6 - "Blood Will Tell" Kate will be forced to give up her nice quiet winter at her cabin in the park, to help solve a murder of one of the members of the association board. You will learn much about the Native American customs and see Jack and Johnny in their native habitat, Anchorage.

Kate is the quintessential heroine -never really worrying about herself until the very last minute. So much of the action that takes place, takes place with Kate in the middle, not relying on a man to help but not being overly stubborn and taking the help when really needed. There is so much to admire about Kate's abilities and also the authors ability to suck you into not only a great story using her wonderful narrative, but interesting if not always complicated mysteries. If you stick with the Kate Shugak novels, you will find that the mysteries will get more complicated and you will find that Alaskan politics will sometimes play a fairly large roll in them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Product Details

The Kate Shugak Novels, Vol. 1 by Dana Stabenow (Aug 10, 2012)

The Kate Shugak Novels Volume #1

A Cold Day for Murder
A Fatal Thaw
Dead in the Water

If there is one line that almost sums up Kate Shugak perfectly  it is in book #2 when Kates friend Bobby, a macho type Viet Nam vet says to Kates sometimes lover and sometimes boss Jack “It’s hell when us macho hero types have to let the heroine rescue herself, ain’t it?”
Kate can save her own butt.

If you have been thinking of trying this series but are perhaps daunted by how many books there are and the expense of it all, then his may be the way to go.  This works out to be about $3.33 a book. 

In these three books you will  meet   Kate Shugak and all of  the important  people in her life, as well as her companion Mutt a half wolf half Husky mix, a total sweetheart as well as Kates ‘bodyguard’ .  

The pacing to these novels is excellent; the narrative is sharp and the character growth (even after 19 and soon to be 20) novels, is heartening.  Sometimes the story can be a little comedic and sometimes the horrors of it can rip the tears right out of you.

In book #1 of this 3 novel compilation – “A Cold Day for Murder” you learn so many things about Kate, about Alaska, mining, the heritage of the Native Alaskans and the mystery is truly a great mystery to boot.  In this book, a park Ranger is missing and while the locals may not think it’s that great a loss his family does and so someone else is sent out to look.  Unfortunately he goes missing too and Kate takes this disappearance a little personally and starts the search.

 Ms Stabenow puts a lot of research into her work and you can tell that she loves what she does.  One thing I will caution-the continuity isn’t always the greatest and you will find some mistakes in the Kindle edition that may or may not be in the paper editions.

Book #2 is titled “A Fatal Thaw” and opens horrifically enough with a mass murder – only one of these murders isn’t like the others.  Now Kate has to find out who in the Park has murdered one of its less popular inhabitants.
An interesting aspect of this particular novel is that Kate lives through an earthquake  while in the middle of a climb up  a mountain and the description is hair-raising to say the least.  

In the last full-length novel, “Dead in the Water”, we learn a completely new appreciation for crab fishermen on the Bering Sea and that Kate can keep up with even the best of them.  She will be doing her best to help the DA’s office find out just why two young crab fishermen went missing while trying to track down fresh water when their ship runs out.

 I find that our heroine Kate seems to have a lot in common with the author Dana Stabenow and you will to if you read the introduction to each of her novels.  And it seems that if Dana hasn’t done it in real life she has researched the heck out of it.

So much of the action that takes place, takes place with Kate in the middle, not relying on a man to help but not being overly stubborn and taking the help when really needed. There is so much to admire about Kate’s abilities and also the authors ability to suck you into not only a great story using her wonderful narrative, but interesting if not always complicated mysteries. If you stick with the Kate Shugak novels, you will find that the mysteries will get more complicated and you will find that Alaskan politics will sometimes play a fairly large roll in them.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Product Details

Jackpot! by Jackie Pilossoph (Aug 2, 2011)

Considering that, this novel has some of the most selfish and self-centered characters that I have ever read, this book did eventually turn into an engaging and interesting read.  The characters did eventually grow, and they did finally become likable. And they even did get a happily ever after.

So how would you react if your mother won the lotto and offered you an 8 million dollar bribe to have a baby? 
And you had to have this child or adopt this child, in the next year?  A lot of people would think that nah they would/couldn’t do it and then I’m sure there are some of us that might be tempted, especially those that are already in a long term relationship, right?

Well  you may have more integrity than this  brother and sister team  does since they fail to tell their partners of this stipulation of their mothers. So naturally, once the partners find out that they have been being used, trouble falls like rain from a storm cloud.

I really disliked the mother for doing this to her kids…and yes, you do find out much later in the book that there was a valid reason for her to be so pushy, but I felt it still was too manipulative.

This book did have its comedic high points, but not as many as I had hoped for.  The descriptions of the Chicago area are wonderful and I felt as if I were there.

It was not a bad book, but I think it would make a better movie than a book.